The Multipurpose Blog

OptionsSay you have some old notebooks gathering dust in a closet somewhere. Maybe those notebooks contain poetry or short stories from the distant past, and maybe no one has ever read that stuff because . . . well, because it's in old notebooks in a closet somewhere. An e-mail conversation the other day reminded me that you don't need a traditional Web site to collect those old writings for posterity. All you need is a blog.

I haven't tried the other blogging platforms so your mileage may vary, but I know it's easy to reconfigure Blogger for this sort of application. The daily-journal style that characterizes the average blog—and defines it, really—isn't a limitation so much as a convention; it doesn't have to be used that way. If you turn off, or at least hide the elements that have come to be associated with blogs—date and time stamps, comments, trackback links and who created the post—you're left with a nice, clean space on which to collect the fruits of your labor. Since chronology is no longer a factor, things like previous-posts lists can go, too.

To use poetry as an example, you can adjust the dates of the poems-formerly-known-as-posts to change their order on the page. Individual short stories, or whatever you happen to be collecting can be similarly arranged; photos or drawings would work the same way. Again assuming Blogger/Blogspot as the platform, everything can be easily e-mailed to the blog for publication, and if you aren't quite ready to show your creative products to the world, you can always make your blog invisible to the masses while you experiment.

While disabling the very features that make a blog a blog may seem misguided, there are some fairly attractive blog templates out there, blog operation in general is straightforward, and it isn't necessary to pay for the privilege. The standard blog configuration is undeniably useful and appropriate for chronological applications, but a few simple adjustments can result in an attractive, free, easy to use Web site for a variety of purposes beyond journaling, or aggregating news and opinion. Options. It's nice to have options.


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